OUR last update on this case was here: Update 28 Oct ‘09, in which we informed you that everyone was appealing the trial court’s decision, and that WorldNetDaily had taken up the cause of the creationist kid who sued his teacher.
We earlier reported, somewhat gleefully, that although the creationist kid had been partially successful in suing Corbett, he had also sued the school board which was found not liable. Therefore the court ruled that because same lawyers represented both Corbett and the school board, the kid had to pay legal fees to Corbett’s lawyers for their victory on behalf of the school board. But as you may recall, that fee award had been made by the court clerk’s office, and it wasn’t final until the judge approved it.
Here are some excerpts from Judge tentatively denies awarding $378,519 to teacher’s defense team, which appears in the Orange County Register. The bold font was added by us:
A federal judge has tentatively denied awarding $378,519 in attorneys’ fees to the defense team for high school teacher James Corbett, sued by a student two years ago for his anti-Christian classroom rhetoric.
Let’s read on:
U.S. District Court Judge James Selna said in a six-page preliminary ruling that although the Capistrano Unified School District was not liable for Corbett’s actions, Capistrano was not eligible to recover any attorneys’ fees because student Chad Farnan’s lawsuit against the school district was not simply “a baseless, vexatious claim,” as Corbett’s attorneys had argued.
Here’s a link to the court’s ruling (pdf file). We continue:
“C.F. (Chad Farnan) set out to prove a constitutional violation, and he did,” [Judge] Selna said. “The vagaries of the law in this area, from which Corbett benefitted [sic], do not undermine the substantive validity of C.F.’s establishment clause claim, nor do they render his position frivolous.”
Corbett “benefited”? Here’s more:
Selna issued the tentative decision Friday from his Santa Ana courtroom. A hearing had been scheduled for today to give both parties an opportunity to respond and for the judge to finalize his decision, but the hearing was postponed at the last minute and has not been rescheduled.
How would you like to be in Corbett’s shoes? This thing is a never-ending nightmare; and we imagine that the creationist kid is rapturous over the grief he’s causing his teacher. Moving along:
If the tentative ruling becomes final, it could have bearing on last month’s decision to award $12,631 in court-related fees to Corbett’s defense team. The school district and the teachers union applied for and were awarded these fees by a federal court clerk, as part of what is typically a routine procedural matter.
But Farnan’s [the creationist kid] attorneys already have filed a motion with Selna seeking to reverse the decision by Milli Borgarding, the deputy in charge of the Santa Ana division of the U.S. District Court clerk’s office. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Nov. 30.
Nothing ever seems to get resolved here. One last excerpt:
Separately, both sides have appealed the entire case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Corbett is seeking to be exonerated; Farnan is seeking a stronger, broader judgment against Corbett.
What does the kid want — an old-fashioned witch burning? We’ve been following this case, and we think that’s certainly possible.
But because the kid is obviously a litigious chap, we hasten to add that although we’re aware of his position in this case, which we think is constitutionally ridiculous, we don’t actually know the lad and we have no intention of defaming him. Therefore, we’ll keep our opinion of him private. You may draw your own conclusions, dear reader.
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